Affective Critical Regionality offers a new approach to developing a sharper, more nuanced understanding of the relations between place, space, memory and affect. It builds on the author’s extensive work on the American West, where he developed the idea of ‘expanded critical regionalism’ to underline the West as multiple, dynamic and relational; engaged in global / local processes, tensions between the rooted and the routed, and increasingly as relevant to debates around the politics of precarity and vulnerability.
This book uses affective critical regionality to enable a re-valuing of the local as a powerful means to appreciate the everyday and the over-looked as vital elements within a more inclusive understanding of how we live. Exploring a variety of cultural materials including fiction, memoir, theory, poetry and film it demonstrates how this approach can deepen our understanding of, and simultaneously provoke new relations with, place. Moving beyond the US context through its use of international theoretical voices and texts, it will show how the concept is applicable to other cultural spheres.
Introduction: An Expanded Critical Regionalism / 1. From Regionalism to Regionality / 2. Charles Olson: ‘the motion which we call life’ / 3. D.J. Waldie: Suburban Regionality / 4. Kathleen Stewart: Fictocritical Regionality / 5. Rebecca Solnit: A New Atlas of Emotion / 6. Willy Vlautin’s Northline: Fugitive Work / 7. Karen Tei Yamashita: Border Cartographies, Border Refrains / 8. Conclusion: ‘not so much a deficiency as a resource’ / Bibliography / Index
Neil Campbell is Professor of American Studies and Research Manager at the University of Derby, U.K. He has published widely in American Studies, including the books American Cultural Studies with Alasdair Kean (Routledge, 2011), American Youth Cultures (ed, Edinburgh University Press, 2004) and co-editor of Issues on Americanisation and Culture (Edinburgh University Press, 2004).
His major research project is an interdisciplinary trilogy of books on the contemporary American West. The first two are The Cultures of the American New West (Edinburgh/Columbia UP, 2000) and The Rhizomatic West (Nebraska, 2008) and he has just completed the final part, Post-Westerns, on cinematic representation of the New West. He is, with Christine Berberich & Robert Hudson, co-editor of Land & Identity: Theory, Memory, and Practice (Rodopi, 2012) and with Alfredo Cramerotti co-editor of Photocinema (Intellect, 2013). Affective Landscapes also edited with Christine Berberich & Robert Hudson is forthcoming with Ashgate in 2014 as is the special section on ‘affective landscapes’ in the Journal Cultural Politics.
Reaching across a diversity of writings Campbell brings the idea of the region into life in a newly human way, situating it amongst the variety of what makes up being alive. The text persistently inspires and enriches. He meshes the variety of key sources and with unusual clarity unpacks the idea of how affect works; the writing affective in itself.
This book is a powerful intervention of a singular kind in the work of configuring possibilities for knowledge and action. It arrays the intensities and infusions of regionality across a vast arc of zones, genres and ways of being, catching up not the boundaries and traces of place but its unfolding, its alchemy, in difference, edging, agitations and intricate infrastructures of surprise. In Campbell’s cartographic mapping, affective regionalities are made of knots, speeds, loops, gestures, sonorities and muscle. They whisper a minor language for remaking the world.
Like the concept of “regionality” itself, Campbell’s prose, both in its theoretical brilliance and scintillating close readings of diverse texts, fractures the totalizing frame of regionalism with an affective intensity that is contagious as well as entirely persuasive. In addition to its many local insights, this book is remarkable for its re-imagining of the political possibilities of regionality “as an energized sense of care.” A scintillating, ultimately humane achievement, Affective Critical Regionality further solidifies Campbell’s status as a groundbreaking scholar not only of the U.S. West but also of critical regionalist studies more generally.